The Weeks

"If my Southern heart's still pumping blood/I'll bury my money in the mighty Mississippi mud," sings The Weeks' Cyle Barnes on Dear Bo Jackson's "Brother In The Night." "If my Southern lungs won't let me breathe/I'll wait for the cicadas and I'll let 'em push it out for me."

With that powerful verse, The Weeks stake a claim as heirs to the timeless tradition of Southern rock. Dear Bo Jackson, the Nashville-based band's Serpents and Snakes debut, sees them enriching their already well-seasoned sonic stew with the classic flavors of soul, R&B, funk, and heavy boogie to fashion a forward-facing sound all their own. Big brass, lush strings, and twangy pedal steel have been fused into their distinctive sludge pop, with Sam Williams' greasy guitars and the highly charged engine room of bassist Damien Bone and drummer/Cyle's brother Cain Barnes now officially joined by keyboardist Alex Admiral Collier. Throughout the album, songs like the aforementioned "Brother In The Night" and the exuberant title track see Cyle Barnes rending his throat raw as he testifies dramatic and truthful tales of modern Southern lives, always full of hope despite often punishing circumstances.

"The South is a different beast than the rest of the world," he says. "We've all been aged and worn in a very fine way because of it. I think even if we didn't want to write about the South, it'd still come out in our songs."

Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, The Weeks came together in 2006 and instantly came to define the sound of Southern Rock in the 21st Century – their grunge-powered, high-octane anthems rich with a bottomless Delta soul far deeper than the boys' teenage years would suggest. Like any great rock 'n' roll outfit worth its salt, The Weeks played as often as humanly possible, with countless club dates across the Southeast and tours alongside such like-minded acts as Local H, North Mississippi Allstars, and the one and only Meat Puppets. Their extraordinary energy and outsized performances – not to mention a series of well-received independently issued releases – earned them a fervent fan following and ultimately, a deal with the like-minded Serpents and Snakes Records.

By summer 2010, it had become clear that sleepy Jackson could no longer contain the mighty Weeks. The band left their old Mississippi home for the bright lights of Nashville, and, as Williams says, "it's been non-stop ever since." Serpents and Snakes reissued the band's second full-length outing, Gutter Gaunt Gangster, earning them reams of national applause, including Amazon.com naming the collection among its top 10 "Outstanding 2012 Albums You Might Have Missed."

Where that album – like all The Weeks' previous recordings – was recorded fast and on the cheap, the band opted to take a more leisurely tack in making its follow-up. They spent six months at pre-production, resulting the most fully articulated demos of their career. When time came to record the album proper, their search for a producer led them to Paul Moak, a Grammy Award-nominated producer/engineer/mixer and perhaps most importantly, a fellow Jacksonian.

Our shoes are tattered and torn, but our feet are dry. As for our places in history, we will run naked through your streets before we sit decorated in your halls.

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas is best known as the singer/guitarist for the two-man, Chicago rock band Local H. But recently, he has broadened his musical scope and greatly expanded his lineup, pulling together a collective of musicians -- the Married Men -- that currently numbers seven and includes violin, accordion and organ. The result is quite different than Local H and a perfect fit for Lucas' more personal, introspective songs. Reviewers have compared the band to Wiclo, the Waterboys and Nick Cave. Lucas calls the group's evolving sound "country-ish, alt-rock for people who like metal."

"The more we played live, the louder the amps got. The louder the amps got....you get the idea. After a certain point, we quit fighting it and decided to get chocolate all over our peanut butter," Lucas explains, describing how he merged the force and volume of Local H with the sensitive twang of the Married Men for the band's second album. "It's not like we've turned into Slayer or anything - we've just decided to embrace our dark side. And that goes for the lyrics, as well."

Blood Half Moon (the End Records - June 2012), is distinctively darker, yet ultimately more optimistic than Scott Lucas & the Married Men's previous records, which were often described as quiet and sad. From the searing violin and haunting organ on the opening track "Lover the Lullaby," which Lucas cites as the song that marked the band's turn toward a more commanding sound; to "Heavy Lidded Love," an upbeat song about cancer and ODing; to the closing, scorching eight-minute rendition of the traditional "There Ain't No Grave (Gonna Hold My Body Down)," this album is HEAVY -- figuratively and sonically. Its songs touch on endings, disappointment, betrayal, confusion, love, uncertainty and death.

"Even on, what you might call, the prettier songs - we let that darkness creep into the lyrics," Lucas says. "'There You Are' has these delicate three-part harmonies, singing about graves and maggots. It's like 'Turn, Turn, Turn' meets the Grim Reaper. For 'Blood Half Moons' - which is the closest I've ever gotten to a beautiful piece of music - I drove around in the desert for a couple of days and came back with lyrics full of blood, crows, and whiskey. And that dichotomy - the light of the music vs. the darkness of the lyrics - only serves to reinforce each other. It makes the songs seem MORE hopeful than if it was all flowers and babies. At least, to me."

As they did with their first two releases, the Married Men engaged Andy Gerber (Smoking Popes, the Tossers, the Effigies) to produce Blood Half Moon and recorded it in their native Chicago. But instead of working exclusively in Gerber's Million Yen Studios, they laid down the bulk of the record at Steve Albini's Electrical Audio, bringing in engineer Greg Norman (Neurosis, Pinebender, Russian Circles) to assist. And, to infuse just the right amount of heaviness, they turned to metal guru Sanford Parker (Yakuza, Pelican, Bloodiest) to mix it.

Scott Lucas formed the Married Men in early 2009 out of a desire to record a batch of intensely personal songs he had written that didn't feel like they belonged on a Local H album. Shortly after culling his backing band from a host of local indie acts -- most notably the Tossers, Caviar and the Joy Poppers -- Lucas and the Married Men recorded their first album, with fewer than a dozen live shows to their name. Their debut, George Lassos the Moon, was released in February 2010 and was followed by several tours. To showcase the band's evolution after more time spent together playing live, they hit the studio again that summer, releasing The Absolute Beginners EP in October 2010. Though he has no intention of abandoning Local H, Lucas has also never considered the Married Men a one-off, side project. He plans to keep them both going simultaneously.

Scott Lucas & the Married Men are:
Scott Lucas -- vocals and guitar
Jason Batchko -- organ and piano
Aaron Duggins – accordion
Rebecca Brooke M. -- violin
Peter Muschong – guitar and vocals
Randy Payne – drums and percussion
Tom Szidon – bass and vocals

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The Weeks with Scott Lucas, Jr. Astronomers, William Forrest, Gypsy Grin

Friday, August 2 · Doors 5:30 PM / Show 6:00 PM at Smiling Moose - Upstairs